Christopher Paine, the Washington-based director of the nuclear program for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, had seemed for awhile to be considering nuclear energy as a viable addition to the energy mix, especially as increased awareness of climate change altered the terms of the discussion.
About a year ago, he said this:
"Our position is that nuclear is not off the table as an energy source, but we believe there are cheaper, cleaner and faster ways to reduce pollution and provide reliable energy than nuclear power."
But Paine has now been making the rounds in Utah with the old arguments made in the old way.
Right now, at a time when nuclear power is increasingly being considered a cleaner source of energy than coal-fired plants, Paine questions the claim by some that the alternative of actually scaling up nuclear power production can be done safely around the world, even under international ownership and control.
"If history is a guide, then the peaceful atom has turned into the military atom quite a few times," Paine said.
Actually, it seems the other way around, but the closer you can link the promise of nuclear energy with a big boom, the more points you get. Feels very eighties, very stale.
Here's a little more:
Nuclear reactors are too expensive, he told an audience at the University of Utah Wednesday. They can't be built fast enough in enough places to truly offset the gasses blamed for global warming. And expanding nuclear technology to new countries spreads the risks of accidents and proliferation, he said.
I guess he's given nuclear energy some thought and decided to think no more.
----On the other hand:
Nearly one fifth of New Zealanders now favour nuclear power as the best energy source for the country in the next 10 years, according to a survey.
This is remarkable because New Zealand has been one of the least nuclear friendly countries. The poll shows them enamored of wind and solar energy, but then, so are we. It's all in the mix and if the Kiwis see the value of nuclear energy in it, er, power to them.